Today will see the continuation at 09.30 at Istanbul Serious Crime Court No 27 of the trial in which our Editor-in-Chief Murat Sabuncu, Executive Board Chair Akın Atalay, reporter Ahmet Şık and accounting employee Emre İper are being held in detention on baseless and illogical allegations with our newspaper’s editorial policy made the subject of charges.
Numerous foreign writers, representatives of press professional organisations, delegations and consular representatives will attend as spectators at the fourth hearing of the trial in which our detained columnists and managers stand charged having been arrested in an operation conducted one year ago today.
Among those in attendance will be German journalist and author Günter Wallraff, Sarah Clarke of PEN International, Rachida Lanrabet of PEN Belgium, Jorgen Lorentzen of PEN Norway, International Press Institute Chair John Yearwood, Sema Kılıçer of the EU Turkey Delegation and representative of the Belgian Consulate Jesper Kamp. Kamp will at the same time report on the hearing for the EU. Participating at the proceedings before Istanbul Serious Crime Court No 27 will be Murat Sabuncu and Akın Atalay, who have been in detention for one year, Ahmet Şık, detained for 305 days, and Emre İper, detained for 208 days, along with our columnists, managers and lawyers who were released at the first hearing on 24 July having spent nine months in detention.
Aydınlık newspaper columnist Mehmet Faraç, who failed to attend despite having twice earlier being summoned by the court as a witness and has caused the proceedings to be prolonged, is expected to be heard at the hearing. At the previous hearing held on 11 September, Alev Coşkun, whose allegations were taken as a basis for the indictment and detention order, was heard as a witness. At the hearing, Akın Atalay demonstrated that the cutting sent attached to the anonymous petition to the Presidential General Secretariat about the Cumhuriyet Foundation and the clipping that Coşkun had submtted to the file were the same. Coşkun at the same time said, “I know the past of these colleagues of mine. I worked alongside them for 22 years. I know their lifestyle. These colleagues cannot be terrorists and cannot turn out to be FETOist. I request of the esteemed court that these colleagues of mine all be released pending trial.”
Release for aiding and abetting from the same court
Istanbul Serious Crime Court No 27, which is conducting the proceedings, is also holding the trial of the detained Erol Yılmaz İrfanoğlu, who hid one of the judges in the Ergenekon trial who was released on turning informant, Dursun Ali Gündoğdu, and Sadrettin Sarıkaya, the prosecutor who wanted to have intelligence agency undersecretary Hakan Fidan detained, in his home, and who is Gündoğdu’s relative. According to a report by Barış Pehlivan of Oda TV, İrfanoğlu alleged while mounting his defence at a hearing held on 26 July, which was the second day of the Cumhuriyet trial that started on 24 July and lasted for five days, that he did not know that his cousin Gündoğdu and Sarıkaya were wanted on FETO charges.
With him having communicated on the internet with the individuals he hid, all the bills at the house being in his own name and not those of the supposed tenants, there being Fethullah Gülen books at the house where he lived and numerous other charges, he made the defence that, “I have no ties with FETO and just helped my cousin who was in a difficult position.” At the end of the hearing, İrfanoğlu was released with the votes of member judges Halit İçdemir and Ramazan Çiçek, presiding judge Abdurrahman Orkun Dağ submitting a dissenting opinion. Cited as grounds in the release order were the defendant’s defence having been taken, the character and nature of the crime, the lack of possibility for tampering with the evidence, his having a fixed address and the absence of a factor necessitating the continuation of detention.